Social Work Department Opportunities
The Bachelor of Social Work program provides students with opportunities for career growth while gaining a working knowledge of social work. Students are required to complete 400 hours of field placement related to their academic and career goals. Field placement, internships and student organizations help students meet course requirements while providing additional avenues of practice and experience.
There are many organizations such as domestic violence shelters for women and children, group homes for children, inner-city ministries, hospitals, non-profit organizations, charities, and government agencies that students can intern with. For example, local institutions like these are possible places for an internship:
- Sunnybrook Children's Home
- Veterans Administration
- University Medical Center
- His Heart Ministries
- Catholic Charities
- Gateway Rescue Mission
- Salvation Army
In spring 2015, student interns at Belhaven University collaborated with Beautiful Ones Ministries, Inc. and Shared Hope International to prepare a report that examines the prevalence of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) in the central Mississippi area. The study revealed that the children being trafficking in the counties assessed are Mississippi children, largely trafficked by their own family members. Poverty and education gaps prevalent in Mississippi make children in the area particularly vulnerable to trafficking.
The research on DMST used a Rapid Assessment methodology provided by Shared Hope that covered four counties – Hinds, Rankin, Madison and Warren – and evaluated the identification of DMST victims and access to services for victims in these counties.
The Belhaven students interviewed a total of 36 local professionals – from law enforcement, the judicial system, government agencies, nongovernmental service providers and the community – about DMST occurring in the target areas.
Social work student organizations like His Hands His Feet and the Social Work Department Advisory Board provide additional opportunities for students to give to and support local communities while practicing what they learned in the classroom.
The goal of His Hands His Feet is to raise awareness of social issues, serve and minister to the surrounding community. Students participate in many service projects, inner city ministries and workdays. They also raise support and money for different charities, non-profits, and ministries.
The Social Work Department Advisory Board includes social work professionals and members of the community who give guidance to the social work department. Student representatives are encouraged to join the board. Students are involved with decision-making and are able to give helpful input from their perspective.
Specific activities His Hands His Feet did in 2013-2014:
- Poverty Awareness Project on Campus: Students displayed information about poverty in the Jackson, MS area on fact sheets and placed them around campus and display boards.
- Social Work students baked items and exchanged those for donated canned items or money. The students raised over $100.00 and collected over 100 cans of food. The money was used to purchase food. The food was prepared and served at We Will Go Ministries, downtown Jackson. Over 100 individuals were fed on a Sunday afternoon. The Canned items were donated to Grace House, a hospice ministry for homeless individuals with HIV.
- The Juniors and Seniors completed a Community Needs Assessment for the Spencer Perkins Center.
- Students assisted the Attorney General's office with the function of training cadets at the Police Academy and Highway Patrol Academy in the area of domestic violence and human trafficking signs and symptoms.
Jobs with a social work degree can lead to positions in healthcare organizations, mental health centers, child welfare agencies, nursing homes, community centers, non-profits, schools, government agencies, youth courts, and treatment centers. The broad exposure and expertise in more than one area can also provide students with multiple career options and opportunities.
This degree prepares students for entry-level social work practice, and can prepare students for several master degree programs.